Temporary migrant workers in Australian horticulture: Boosting supply but at what price?

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... Though the existing literature has been characterized as thin (Zhao et al. 2018: 4), the article is able to draw on empirical findings from recent studies by academic researchers (eg. Howe et al. 2017Howe et al. , 2019Rimmer and Underhill 2015;Rimmer 2016, 2017;Underhill et al. 2018) and by the official agency for enforcement of labour law, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) (FWO 2016(FWO , 2018. The article begins with background information on the structure of harvest labour markets and the size and composition of the harvest workforce. ...
... Most growers -apart from smaller family farms that draw just on family labour -find it difficult to meet peak seasonal demands for labour through recruitment of workers living in nearby areas, and they are obliged to rely on a 'flexible' and mobile workforce. Attracting large groups of workers to fill short-term job vacancies across vast distances and at just the right time is a challenging task, riddled with risks (Rimmer and Underhill 2015). Employers in horticulture, more than in other industries, face a substantial and recurrent problem of what can be termed labour supply uncertainty, which is primarily to do with recruitment but also concerns whether workers will stay for the full duration of the harvest (retention). ...
... Undocumented ('illegal', 'unlawful' or 'unauthorised') migrant workers are sometimes overlooked, but they are a crucial component of the harvest workforce (Howe et al. 2019: 35-46;Howells 2011;Rimmer and Underhill 2015;Segrave 2017;Underhill and Rimmer 2016). They fit within the definition of TMWs, but they are labelled as 'undocumented' because their work or residence is in breach of immigration law. ...
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